June 15, 2010

Touchdown Jesus Burns to the Ground

If your church has an extra $250,000 sitting around doing no good, you can use it to build yourself a sweet six-story statue of Jesus that makes Him look like a football referee. Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, had one of these, built to inspire drivers along Interstate 75 just north of Cincinnati. This colossus was made of plastic foam and fiberglass over a steel frame and on Monday it was hit by lightning and burned to the ground. The steel frame is all that is left.

So, how should we interpret it when God in His wisdom ordains lightening to burn down your expensive giant Jesus statue? I'm sure that people have different theories.

Perhaps God did not want to be represented as something that I would be inescapably tempted to kick a field goal through.  Or perhaps God is trying to send a subtle message that there are better uses for a quarter of a million dollars. It's hard to say.

If I were an atheist I would find it very deliciously ironic and satisfying that "God" choose to burn down His own statue. Seriously, if there is a God, how could he choose to dishonor himself like that?

This isn't an explanation, but here is a thought: God the Father didn't treat this statue of His Son any worse than He treated His real Son.

God the Father "did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all" (Romans 8:32). Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be "stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted" (Isaiah 53:4). Although He was innocent, "Yet it was the Lord's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer" (Isaiah 53:10). We, as sinners, are the ones who have rebelled and like sheep have gone astray, but "the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).

This is not "divine child abuse." Although God the Father delivered up the Son, Jesus also did this willingly (John 10:17-18). Yet the Bible states "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith" (Romans 3:23-25 ESV). A propitiation is a sacrifice that satisfies and absorbs the righteous wrath of God against sin. God treated His Son as a sinner so that He could treat sinners as His sons.

The state of the Son was struck by lightning. The real Son was struck by the wrath of God, for our salvation.

June 5, 2010

Death as an Argument for God

Death is usually viewed as an argument against the existence of God. A good God wouldn't allow suffering and evil and death, or at least so the argument goes. However it struck me that there is something about death that actually makes it a good argument for God.

If evolution caused the seemingly infinite variety of life forms and intricate biological functions that we observe, why is it that in the billions upon billions of adaptations found in nature, evolution has not found the one adaptation that--by far--would be the most beneficial to a species, namely, a lack of mortality?

I do not mean immortality in the sense that an animal could fall into a volcano and live. What I mean to ask is why there is not one single organism, from cockroach to man to bacteria, that does not possess natural mortality? Certainly pre-programmed death cannot be more beneficial to a species than an unlimited lifespan? Nor is there any inherent reason why, with as much complexity as life has, could it not find a way for at least one single organism to sustain itself indefinitely?

If blind nature can supposedly find a way to create eyesight and consciousness, then why couldn't it find a way for one simply organism to just keep on living unless meets a violent death? All that would be necessary for this would be the adequate repair or replacement or parts. Certainly that would have been easier for blind nature to achieve rather than biological reproduction--especially when it involves two different gendered parents. If blind nature can find a way for life to build itself automatically from a single cell after conception, then why can it not find a way for one organism to sustain itself indefinitely?

But death is a fact. And it is a fact that is explained by a Biblical worldview. Human death, at least, came into the world when Adam rebelled against God and cut himself off from the source of life (Genesis 3; Romans 5). Death is part of the curse that is now over this world, and which one day will be lifted because of Jesus' death on the cross. The existence of death is better explained by a Biblical worldview than by blind naturalism, and thus strangely enough death is actually an argument for the existence of God
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